written by: Randy Clinkscales
Medicare open enrollment sounds like a boring topic and many others have written on it. Some of you may be rolling your eyes just thinking about reading another article on Medicare. But, let me tell you about the 45 minutes that ended up saving me thousands of dollars.
Last year I was “forced” into Medicare. It is a long story and I will not go into it. Basically, when I turned 65, I was no longer eligible for the type of healthcare plan that I was on. As a result, I enrolled in Part A, B and D of Medicare. Part A is the hospital portion, Part B is doctor visits and the like, and Part D is prescription drugs. Each Part has “deductibles”.
There are different types of supplemental policies that help cover all or a portion of the deductibles.
When I was “forced” into Medicare B and D (Medicare A is free and you are eligible at age 65), I was advised to pick both a Medicare supplemental policy for my doctor’s visits and a Medicare D policy for my medication.
While I have virtually no medical expenses, I do have one expensive medication that I use. I needed to enroll in Medicare Part B and Part D because if I failed to do so, then I would be assessed a penalty in later years when I tried to enroll.
I also knew that I needed to acquire a supplemental policy because if I do so during that initial enrollment period (about the time I turned 65 or when I leave employer coverage), I am guaranteed coverage. If I do not enroll during that initial enrollment period and try to enroll later when my health has failed, I can be required to pay a higher premium or even denied coverage.
October 15 through December 7 is the only time you can change your Part D (prescription drug) coverage. My office was advising all of our families of those dates and urging them to have their Medicare D evaluated. Someone in my office suggested that I take my own advice and have both my Medicare Supplement B and D policies examined.
My wife and I met with an independent agent. Bottom line, we saved $3,000 a year on our supplemental policy. I then saved an additional $1,400 by changing my Medicare D plan.
This is a great opportunity for you to have your supplemental policy and Part D policy re- evaluated. I urge you to take some time to do it. You can go online to Medicare.gov, but I like dealing with a real person. I am glad that I did.
Please take time to check out your Medicare supplemental and Medicare D coverage. Like me, it could save you a lot of money and make you feel good about that 45 minutes that you spent with the agent.
Randy Clinkscales of Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, PA, Hays, Kansas, is an elder care attorney, practicing in western Kansas. Disclaimer: The information in the column is for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Each case is different and outcomes depend on the fact of each case and the then applicable law. For specific questions, you should contact a qualified attorney.